Risk Insider: Tim Kania

The Need for Technical Expertise in Energy

By: | July 10, 2017 • 2 min read
Tim Kania is the Global Head of Energy & Construction at Aspen Insurance. Prior to Aspen, Tim served as SVP of Energy & Construction at Liberty International Underwriters, and has held previous underwriting and engineering roles at Munich Re, Starr, AIG, Swiss Re and Fireman’s Fund. He is a licensed professional engineer for fire protection engineering and has earned various accreditations from the Insurance Institute of America.
Topics: Energy | Risk Insider

Risks associated with the energy sector are growing in magnitude and complexity. Volatile commodity prices, an ever-changing regulatory environment, aging infrastructure, new technologies, and acquisitions and mergers are primary factors that impact risk profiles for facilities and systems in the energy sector.

The need for technical expertise to help firms manage risk in the energy segment has never been greater. Many companies are taking an essential proactive approach to address this expanded risk profile. On the carrier side, insurance professionals are assisting clients by bringing the full value of technical proficiency to support them, including risk engineers that partner with claims professionals and underwriters to assess risks and collaborate to provide custom risk solutions.  This team approach, coupled with a detailed understanding of loss history and prior experience of technical underwriters, contributes to a thorough client risk analysis.

It is important to note that custom risk solutions for energy clients require frequent reviews and periodic updates over time

There are numerous actions a valued insurance partner can offer to assist energy clients with a comprehensive approach to managing their constantly evolving risks. Risk engineers have historically been welcomed by clients to survey energy facilities, evaluate process safety management procedures, present recommendations, consult about capital projects, and develop loss estimates. Coupling risk engineering information with client and industry claims data can greatly assist the client to prioritize risk mitigation and reduction activities and capital expenditure.

It is important to note that custom risk solutions for energy clients require frequent reviews and periodic updates over time. For example, the recent shale gas revolution in North America has shifted feedstocks used to manufacture certain petrochemicals, creating pressure on the production of some that generate less favorable margins.

The systemic risk associated with a disruption in production and transportation of petrochemicals is therefore constantly changing. An experienced technical underwriter, aligned with engineering and claims, can utilize their broad industry knowledge to help clients ensure they have the proper coverage in place as the risk landscape evolves.

Working with a specialist approach to risk assessment in the energy space often revolves around partnership, since collaborating with the broker and client to fully comprehend their exposures can help to develop the most appropriate solution to managing risk. Specialist underwriters can deploy their risk engineers to suggest best practices on risk management and specific mitigation strategies to assist a client in addressing ongoing risks.

This technical process of risk analysis helps a specialist underwriter through interaction with a broker to provide custom solutions that address the complex risk landscape for energy clients. In doing so, an underwriter may consider offering additional capacity for a particular risk, or consider providing specific coverages to develop the right solution for a client’s unique profile. This collaborative approach aims to deliver the most long-term value to the client.

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

4 Companies That Rocked It by Treating Injured Workers as Equals; Not Adversaries

The 2018 Teddy Award winners built their programs around people, not claims, and offer proof that a worker-centric approach is a smarter way to operate.
By: | October 30, 2018 • 3 min read

Across the workers’ compensation industry, the concept of a worker advocacy model has been around for a while, but has only seen notable adoption in recent years.

Even among those not adopting a formal advocacy approach, mindsets are shifting. Formerly claims-centric programs are becoming worker-centric and it’s a win all around: better outcomes; greater productivity; safer, healthier employees and a stronger bottom line.


That’s what you’ll see in this month’s issue of Risk & Insurance® when you read the profiles of the four recipients of the 2018 Theodore Roosevelt Workers’ Compensation and Disability Management Award, sponsored by PMA Companies. These four programs put workers front and center in everything they do.

“We were focused on building up a program with an eye on our partner experience. Cost was at the bottom of the list. Doing a better job by our partners was at the top,” said Steve Legg, director of risk management for Starbucks.

Starbucks put claims reporting in the hands of its partners, an exemplary act of trust. The coffee company also put itself in workers’ shoes to identify and remove points of friction.

That led to a call center run by Starbucks’ TPA and a dedicated telephonic case management team so that partners can speak to a live person without the frustration of ‘phone tag’ and unanswered questions.

“We were focused on building up a program with an eye on our partner experience. Cost was at the bottom of the list. Doing a better job by our partners was at the top.” — Steve Legg, director of risk management, Starbucks

Starbucks also implemented direct deposit for lost-time pay, eliminating stressful wait times for injured partners, and allowing them to focus on healing.

For Starbucks, as for all of the 2018 Teddy Award winners, the approach is netting measurable results. With higher partner satisfaction, it has seen a 50 percent decrease in litigation.

Teddy winner Main Line Health (MLH) adopted worker advocacy in a way that goes far beyond claims.

Employees who identify and report safety hazards can take credit for their actions by sending out a formal “Employee Safety Message” to nearly 11,000 mailboxes across the organization.

“The recognition is pretty cool,” said Steve Besack, system director, claims management and workers’ compensation for the health system.

MLH also takes a non-adversarial approach to workers with repeat injuries, seeing them as a resource for identifying areas of improvement.

“When you look at ‘repeat offenders’ in an unconventional way, they’re a great asset to the program, not a liability,” said Mike Miller, manager, workers’ compensation and employee safety for MLH.

Teddy winner Monmouth County, N.J. utilizes high-tech motion capture technology to reduce the chance of placing new hires in jobs that are likely to hurt them.

Monmouth County also adopted numerous wellness initiatives that help workers manage their weight and improve their wellbeing overall.

“You should see the looks on their faces when their cholesterol is down, they’ve lost weight and their blood sugar is better. We’ve had people lose 30 and 40 pounds,” said William McGuane, the county’s manager of benefits and workers’ compensation.


Do these sound like minor program elements? The math says otherwise: Claims severity has plunged from $5.5 million in 2009 to $1.3 million in 2017.

At the University of Pennsylvania, putting workers first means getting out from behind the desk and finding out what each one of them is tasked with, day in, day out — and looking for ways to make each of those tasks safer.

Regular observations across the sprawling campus have resulted in a phenomenal number of process and equipment changes that seem simple on their own, but in combination have created a substantially safer, healthier campus and improved employee morale.

UPenn’s workers’ comp costs, in the seven-digit figures in 2009, have been virtually cut in half.

Risk & Insurance® is proud to honor the work of these four organizations. We hope their stories inspire other organizations to be true partners with the employees they depend on. &

Michelle Kerr is associate editor of Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]